Behind The Scenes At The SPCA: Investigating Animal Cruelty

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George Bengal of the Pennsylvania SPCA is like the Ed McMahon of animal rescues. There’s just one difference: When he comes to your door, he’s not bringing an oversized check and balloons.

“I’ve had cases where the people we’re investigating will say to me, ‘I know you, I’ve seen you on TV,” said Bengal. “And to that I say: ‘And now you’re going to be on TV with me, but it’s not for a good reason.”

As the director of humane law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA, Bengal has seen everything from dog-fightingas seen in the recent Germantown case, to pet hoarding. He’s also a retired Philadelphia police officer.

With 12 humane officers on the team, the group can have a workload of 30 to 50 cases at one time. They also have the daunting task of enforcing the animal cruelty laws for 16 counties.

“People often think that we’re funded by the state because we’re enforcing state laws, but that’s not the case,” said Bengal.

His team is constantly following-up on calls and investigating animal cruelty and abuse. 

“We have a twenty-four-seven hotline,” said Bengal, “calls come in everyday and we look into each one. Every time I think I’ve seen the worst case, another one will top it,” said Bengal.

A look into the world of animal fighting

Bengal says he has seen horrific scenes of animal fighting. The fights, which are motivated by money, involve high-end betting.

“In one case, my team found half a million dollars in cash at a home,” said Bengal. “It’s a blood sport. These animals are trained to fight, even to the death.”

He says the fights attract large crowds and he’s seen over 100 people in one house. Spectators can be charged just for watching.

“In many cases, women will be cooking and actually selling food upstairs in the kitchen, while downstairs the men are watching the fighting,” said Bengal.

A dog rescued from dog-fighting. (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania SPCA)

He says the animals are trained to fight from a young age. Owners may start out playing tug-of-war with the dog as a puppy using a towel or rope. Eventually, they will start training with weight pulls for a sled, which are legal.

“They train them like it’s a fun game,” explained Bengal. “Eventually, they’ll put heavy chains on their necks to strengthen them, pump them full of steroids and have them run on treadmills. Animal fighting is like a boxing match.”

The fights are so serious that the owners will even pay for a cutman to treat physical damage during the fight.

“These guys will go so far as to put a sedative or poison on their fur, so that when the other dog bites, he’ll get weak and sick,” explained Bengal. “With cock fighting, they will implant knives or gaffs on the animals claws.”

When asked if the owners ever feel remorse for their actions, Bengal says they only think of the animals as valuable property.

“They’re mad when we take their animals because some of them are worth thousands of dollars,” said Bengal.

“Some of these dogs are grand champion fighters, and their pups alone can be worth $20,000 to $50,000.”

Dangerous hoarder homes

Can you imagine 110 Chihuahua‘s living in one home? Bengal can. He says that typically, animal hoarding goes hand-in-hand with other types of hoarding, which can mean a dangerous situation for both animals and humans alike.

“These are some of the most tragic cases,” said Bengal. “These people have serious issues. They’ve lost their ability to know what’s right and wrong. They don’t having running water, they don’t get things fixed.”

He says for many hoarder cases his team must wear protective gear and breathing masks due to mass amounts of feces and garbage.

“We’ll find dead animals inside these houses,” said Bengal. “One woman actually asked if she could take pictures of the dead ones before we took them out, she was that mentally attached.”

He says homicide cases for humans mean a felony or a death sentence, but when an animal is killed, it may only mean minimal jail time or a fine.

“When we go to a location, it’s a lot like a narcotics investigation. We get forensic evidence and autopsy results to determine the cause of death,” said Bengal. “We treat these cases as if it were a regular homicide.”

The SPCA works with the Licenses and Inspections (L&I) department to get people out of these conditions and find them psychiatric help. In some cases the properties may be deemed unlivable and are condemned.

“We try to do as much as we can,” said Bengal. “You have to stay professional at all times. Our job is a combination of a cop, social worker and educator.”

Healing hands at the SPCA

Wendy Marano, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania SPCA, says the group has a “no kill” philosophy.

“No animal comes here with a clock ticking,” said Marano. “We work hard to get them better, we want to give them a second chance.”

She says the SPCA team works to rehabilitate abused animals so that they may one day enter into an adoptive home.

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Bob Barker Launches Campaign to Keep Animals Safe on Film Sets

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Bob Barker and The Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon have teamed up to spearhead a new animal rights campaign to keep creatures safe from harm on movie and TV sets.

The two celebrities have joined People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists in calling for the reform of the No Animals Harmed… label given to film projects that are given the American Humane Association (AHA)’s stamp of approval whenever horses, dogs, cats and other furry friends are used.

Barker and Simon will stage a press conference to launch the campaign on Thursday, when they will ask AHA officials to investigate claims that animals are being mistreated on sets.

Peta bosses claim the AHA has failed to adequately oversee several recent and current film and TV productions, where animals have been injured and killed.

The campaign launch comes just months after Peta chiefs won a major battle with TV executives at HBO over horse racing drama Luck following the deaths of two horses.

The animal rights activists fought to shut the set down after the tragedies and creators and producers agreed to cease production.

The projects that have come under fire for questionable treatment of animals include The Lone Ranger, There Will Be Blood, Failure to Launch and The Hobbit.

Peta bosses have revealed they received information about the mistreatment of animals on these and other film sets from “whistle-blowers” after they released leaked information about the deaths of the horses on the set of Luck.

Announcing the new campaign to force AHA officials to take action, Peta’s Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo tells WENN, “Moviegoers can’t rely on the assurance that ‘no animals were harmed’ if the very people standing on film sets to safeguard animals are the ones placing animals at risk. The reports of complicity and complacency that Peta has received suggest a broken system that must be fixed immediately, before one more animal is injured or killed”

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Spain brings back live bull fighting to TV as country turns its back on traditional sport

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“WTF…I kept reading this thinking I had surely seen the wrong date…I can’t believe after all we have achieved that this sickening spectacle of public animal abuse…will once more be aired on TV.”

  • Attendances at bullrings have fallen during economic crisis
  • Six years since bullfights last shown on Spain‘s state TV

PUBLISHED: 16:13, 24 August 2012 | UPDATED: 16:26, 24 August 2012

Critics have labelled the sport barbaric and cruel while supporters say it is a centuries-old symbol of Spanish culture.

Tradition: Bull fighting has been a traditional sport in Spain for hundreds of years

Bull fighting has long divided opinion in Spain and across the world, but the traditional sport is nevertheless set for a boost after it was announced it is to be shown live on Spanish state TV for the first time in six years.

Broadcaster RTVE said live transmissions would resume with the screening of a bullfight on September 5 in the northern city of Valladolid.

Spanish bull fighting has suffered in recent years as a result of falling popularity and the economic crisis.

There are now fewer bullfights held across the country, while attendances have also dropped.

The policy change comes under the new conservative Popular Party government, which opposes all attempts to curtail bull fighting in Spain.

Under the previous Socialist government RTVE had stopped showing live evening bullfights for economic reasons and because they coincided with children’s viewing times.

Animal rights activists want the sport to be banned nationwide, although traditionalists have mounted stubborn resistance to protect it.

In 2011, the north eastern region of Catalonia became the second in Spain to ban bull fighting, joining the Canary Islands, which stopped the practice in 1991

Spain’s economy remains in a fragile condition, with around one in four out of work.

The country’s huge public debt has led to fears that it will eventually be forced to leave the eurozone.

Some experts believe that rescuing Spain – the fourth biggest economy in the eurozone area and fifth largest in Europe – could prove to be too expensive.

But despite the country’s economic woes, bull fighting could be about to enjoy a resurgence in popularity when it is shown live on TV once again.

The sport was originally the preserve of the aristocracy, who would fight the bulls on horseback.

However, in the 18th century the upper echelons of society were banned from participating since it was seen to set a bad example to the public.

The lower ranks in society took over the sport, fighting on foot rather than on horseback, since they could not afford a steed.

The matadors remain respected figures by many in Spain for their bravery and skill.

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A Poor Dog Called Denny – Video

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Published on 15 May 2012 by 

Unfortunately, no explanation is necessary. As always, and if you are able – please consider a donation for Denny’s medical expenses. to stay updated and check up on Denny, please visit

Tom and Misha – Back to the Blue – Free At Last

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Awesome news, I hope now, they will always remain free & happy!”

With a mighty surge Tom and Misha are free once more!

Rescued from death’s door and the confines of a filthy festering ‘swimming pool’ in Hisaronu, Turkey, nearly two years of careful care and preparation finally reached its stunning climax when the gate to their sea pen was opened for the first time and the two dolphins swam Back To The Blue.

At the opening of Tom and Misha’s gateway to freedom was legendary actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna OBE alongside Coronation Street favourite, Helen Worth, TV Investigator Donal MacIntyre and Derya Yildirim from the on-site team. See the moment as it happened in the video below:

Published on 10 May 2012 by 

The moment that Tom and Misha finally became free after years of captivity. Find out more at

Back to the wild, Tom and Misha


Published on 11 May 2012 by 

The moment that Tom and Misha finally became released back to the wild. Corrie actress Helen Worth travels to Turkey for an update on the plight of two dolphins rescued from a tiny swimming pool at a holiday resort as they are released and tracked traveling home.


TV Review – HBO Series: Luck – Working With Horses – AHA

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“I came across the following & found it very interesting”.

“As a horse owner & rider I was horrified when I found out that 2 horses from the new series, Luck, had to be euthanised after fatal falls; then sadly a third death occurred! Click this link Luckto see my other post on the subject. The following is a more in-depth look at the incidents, how mechanical horses & cameras were used & how the American Human Association monitors T.V shows & films etc.”

During the filming of the new HBO series, Luck, two fatal accidents occurred several months apart — one during the filming of the pilot and one during the filming of the seventh episode. The two racehorses stumbled and fell during short racing sequences.

On the set of "Luck" TV series about horse racing

The horses were checked immediately afterwards by the on site veterinarians and in each case a severe fracture deemed the condition inoperable. The decision was that the most humane course of action was euthanasia.

An American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative™ was monitoring the animal action on the set when the incidents occurred and observed the veterinarian on the set perform the soundness checks and approve the horses, prior to racing them. A full investigation and necropsy was conducted for each accident immediately afterwards.

American Humane Association is deeply saddened by the deaths of these two wonderful animals. Protecting the welfare of the animals we serve is not only our mission, it is the passion of each and every one of us who works for this program. Because of these accidents, the two episodes in question do not carry the full certification, “No Animals Were Harmed”®. To provide the highest possible degree of scrutiny with serial productions, each episode is monitored individually and given a rating.

No such incidents occurred in other episodes, which did allow them to achieve certification. Following the second incident, American Humane Association insisted that production be suspended and imposed additional stringent soundness protocols. These included, but were not limited to, daily training and care records, microchips in all of the horses, hiring an additional veterinarian to do the comprehensive soundness checks at the top of the day, and radiographs of the legs of all horses being considered for use on the show. We insisted that these protocols be in place before any filming could resume. HBO agreed to all our requests and worked collaboratively regarding these many additional safety guidelines and precautions, and resumed filming once all of the horses in the show stable were radiographed and those deemed at risk were pulled.

Luck is a series about the horse racing industry. Throughout the series there are numerous racing sequences as well as milder action with horses in barns, being walked, groomed, bathed, etc. Some of the racing scenes appear to be very intense; horses are seen running at fast speeds, and at times close to one another and the railing that surrounds the track.

The extraordinary amount of horse work incorporated in this plotline called for several American Humane Association Certified Animal Safety Representatives™ to ensure that all guidelines were met, including the additional precautions, and all the animal action was monitored.

The racing sequences were filmed at Santa Anita Racetrack in Southern CA. An American Humane Association Certified Animal Safety Representative™ was present when the vet checked each horse before filming began, after each racing scene, and at the end of each day. All grounds were inspected before each race and cast, crew and takes were limited. Mandatory daily safety meetings were held each morning before filming began. The horses that appeared in the race sequences were racehorses that were conditioned to this racing type of environmentt. Some sequences required trained movie horses to work with specially designed camera cars.

Read more here via TV Review – HBO Series: Luck | No Animals Were Harmed.

American Humane Association’s On-Set Oversight
Find out how filmmakers work with American Humane Association, and get a complete guide to our ratings system.

Flaming-horned bull fatally gores man

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Flaming-horned bull fatally gores man.

Are we meant to feel sorry for this idiot??  Sorry no sympathy here…its called KARMA!!!

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